HARRISBURG, Pa (WTAJ) — Governor Tom Wolf announced Wednesday that $190 million is now available for schools to promote healthier, safer environments.
The money will help initiate student mental health programming and enhance security across Pennsylvania schools.
“Over the course of my administration, I have worked hard to ensure that Pennsylvania’s schools are adequately funded to provide a quality education for students of all social statuses and put them on a positive path from an early age,” Gov. Wolf said. “However, it’s become clear that to truly ensure student success we must look at a larger picture.
As part of Wolf’s final budget, $95 million will go towards School Mental Health Grants which is part of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s (PCCD) School Mental Health & Safety and Security program. The grant can support mental health early and inform students on self-care, suicide awareness, restorative justice, bullying and bullying prevention, counseling services, staff training, trauma-informed education and more.
“Our children have endured a pandemic and incredible social unrest: some have faced poverty or family tragedies, others are simply predisposed to struggling with their mental health,” Wolf said. “Students need us to invest in programming to support mental clarity, strong social-emotional skills, and stave off feelings of anxiety and depression. It is my hope that these programs increase access to care and provide daily support to grow strong youth with futures unbarred by inaccessible healthcare.”
An additional $95 million will go towards PCCD’s School Mental & Safety and Security program that can be used for the 2022-23 school year. The grant offers a wide safety improvements and violence prevention program that includes metal detectors, specially trained canines, surveillance equipment, electronic locks and deadbolts, trauma kits, staff and student training programs and student discipline programming support.
“It’s unfortunate that we live in a world where a building’s physical security components can contribute to—or be detrimental to—student success,” Gov. Wolf said. “But in a nation where tragedies like what happened in Uvalde, Buffalo, Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life, and too many more are a regular occurrence, we must ensure schools have the necessary funding to protect the innocent lives learning within their walls with top of the line security.”
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Guidelines and information about how to apply can be found on the PCCD website. The program will be accepting applications through Wednesday, August 31.